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Former Twins righthander Kevin Slowey

David Zalubowski, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Rand: Rotating the Twins rotation

  • January 15, 2013 - 6:39 AM

The 2010 Twins won 94 games and the AL Central. They also had six different pitchers who won at least 10 games. Fast-forward to 2013: When once it seemed possible a majority of them would be rotation mainstays, there is a chance none of them will make any starts for the Twins this year. What happened? A combination of injuries, regression and natural attrition. Consider:

• Nick Blackburn: From 2008 to '10, Blackburn averaged 11 victories and a 4.45 ERA. Since then? Blackburn, who still is only 30 years old, is a combined 11-19 with a 5.65 ERA. He has allowed 42 homers in 247 innings and is walking about one batter more per nine innings (2.9) than he did the previous three years. He had surgery for a bone chip in October; news came out Monday that he had another surgery last week, this time on his forearm, which means he will miss the start of spring training -- thus making it harder for him to regain his form and earn a spot in the rotation.

• Carl Pavano: He was the workhorse of the 2010 staff, throwing 221 innings and winning 17 games with a 3.75 ERA. Since then? He went 11-18 combined over the past two years, making only 11 starts during an injury-plagued 2012 season. Pavano, 37, remains unsigned for 2013.

• Francisco Liriano: It looked as if he had turned the corner in 2010, striking out 201 batters, winning 14 games and posting a 3.62 ERA. Since then? Liriano, 29, has battled control and inconsistency issues. He is 15-22 with a 5.23 ERA in the past two years, including time spent with the White Sox after being traded midseason in 2012. He is negotiating a two-year deal with the Pirates, though that has been on hold since an injury to his right (non-throwing) arm was discovered.

• Kevin Slowey: Remember him? He went 13-6 for the 2010 Twins, his third consecutive season with double-digit victories. He wasn't dominant, but he looked like a capable back-of-the-rotation starter when healthy. Since then, though: Slowey, 28, grumbled about his bullpen role to begin 2011 before going 0-8 that season (all decisions as a starter) and didn't pitch in the majors in 2012.

• Scott Baker: He won 12 games in 2010 and was off to a great start in 2011 (8-6, 3.14 ERA) before being derailed by arm problems. He ended up missing the entire 2012 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Baker, 31, signed with the Cubs in the offseason.

• Brian Duensing: The lefty went 10-3 for the Twins in 2010, splitting time as a starter and reliever. As a starter, he was quite effective: 7-2 with a 3.05 ERA. Since then, however, Duensing, 29, is a combined 13-26 with a 5.19 ERA, again splitting time in both roles. His career numbers -- 4.57 ERA as a starter, 3.38 ERA as a reliever -- suggest he might be best off in the bullpen for the 2013 Twins.

MICHAEL RAND

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